Go see 'Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike'

This play, now at the Camden Opera House will leave you thinking and chuckling for days. Written by Christopher Durang, it's perfectly on target for what our local repertory group does best. It is provocative, funny, and features a small, high-quality perfectly-cast bunch of characters.

Snuggling into those comfy seats, you see the most splendid stage set you can imagine. As the stage lights rise, we gradually meet three siblings, living out the shadowy legacy of their patrician Chekhov-obsessed parents. Vanya and Sonia have remained in the rambling family home, while Masha went off to a successful but unsatisfying movie career. We soon see that each sibling is stuck in their own particular dead end. Additional humor is provided by Masha’s “boy toy” Spike, played exuberantly by Ryan Thompson. Here is young Thompson, now acting with seasoned professionals, and brimming with confidence and pizzaz in an outrageous and risqué part which would inhibit many.

The plot thickens with the proposed sale of the family home, and eventually our characters are headed to a costume party, fighting vigorously over costumes. And — oh, the art of the playwright! — it is in the choosing and wearing of a costume, and the role which goes with it, that each character gains perspective on their life, and glimpses the way forward.

For me, each character has a particular dramatic moment in the sun. After the party, Sonia is on the phone with “Joe” who is proposing a first date. In our hearing of this half-conversation, Jennifer Hodgson’s superb acting comes to the fore. Likewise David Troup’s Vanya is finding a new stride as a playwright, and gives an impassioned soliloquy you won’t forget. This tirade beautifully sums up the slow erosion of community which has separated us into “molecules” in these last decades.

And what could be a better spice to this rollicking play than the occasional intrusion of the sassy maid, played by Dagney Ernest? She enlivens this downbeat, voodoo-weilding, disaster-cooking persona to a “T.” Occasionally, she steps out of the set, to deliver a faux-Greek soliloquy loaded with modernisms.

I could go on, talking of Elizabeth Logun’s Masha’s believable softening, as her arrogance is eroded by Spike’s desertion but really the best thing is to see this play. Why go to plays? Tillie Olsen, one of our most unusual writers, once said: “I attended five colleges: motherhood, human struggle, everyday work, literature and contrast.” Literature gives us an amplified and narrowed slice of life; and through it’s lens we often see our own lives more clearly.

Jory Squibb



They never mention democracy

For many years and especially since election year 2010, Maine any many other States have been experiencing an extreme (right wing) and deliberately devious conservative influence on state and local governments that far too many Americans are unaware of.

The following “Right Wing” political organizations such as; the Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works, Americans For Prosperity and Alec (American Legislative Exchange Council) are all National Organizations representing some of the wealthiest and most greedy dynasty’s across this Country intent on greatly diminishing or even possibly destroying our great Democracy in order to have their way. Does this all sound extreme? Well maybe but all of these highly funded and staffed organizations are actually in Maine and are hard at work using their particular brand of propaganda in an attempt to influence the thinking of people especially at the local level. Why the local level? Because professionals with a purpose know that to be effective in this case they must influence and convert at grassroots the politically uninformed.

A perfect example of their efforts is a political column, Another View, published weekly in the Camden Herald. A week ago it was something about “Straw Men” and this week it was about “Biscuits”. Every week I read these diatribes or rants which are obviously aimed at liberals and Democrats with great effort. Last week’s article “Biscuits” written by Ken Frederic, apparently a frequent Another View contributor, was mostly another rant against liberals but in one paragraph he did attempt to define what his weekly group really believed in. And sure enough in so many words the four points of political paranoia being advanced and shared nationally and locally by the Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works, Americans for Prosperity and Alec came to the forefront, which are; A smaller government, less taxes, freedom from regulatory restraint and individual responsibility.

In another paragraph Mr. Frederic mentioned that when his group meets they only talk about ideas and not people. And that is exactly what it’s all about, ideology. The ideology being, making the case whereby the democracy of all the people would be replaced by a ruling class made up of the wealthy and privileged. So it’s not surprising in all the rants I have read so far, including Mr. Frederic’s, that not once was the word Democracy ever mentioned.

Despite the disdain of liberals by Mr. Frederic and others of his ilk, I am proud to admit being one and I’m also proud of believing in the Democracy in which I live. The writers of Another View and other conservative articles constantly paint liberals as being haters and the cause of all the world’s problems. This is simply not true. The fact is Liberals know the truth which makes them a threat to their adversary’s intent.

So the material for your ponderous articles is coming from elsewhere Mr. Frederic and I suspect that to be from your organizers and benefactors. You know, like the Maine Heritage Policy Center. I also suspect they might actually be writing some of them for you.

Raymond Ludwig



We support Welsh

We are writing to support Joan Welsh for reelection to the Maine House of Representatives. Although we have known Joan personally for two years, we are convinced that the compassion and respect she demonstrates to those with whom she has a personal connection informs her work on behalf of the Camden/Rockport residents she represents. Joan’s actions extend beyond citizens in her district to impact people across Maine as well as people well beyond our borders.

We appreciate Joan’s efforts to protect coastal waters, and other natural resources that directly impact the economy of Maine and employment opportunities for her citizens. As co-chair of the Environment and Natural Resource Committee of the Legislature, she is invested in striving to understand scientific changes in the environment and to respond with proposals that will protect us and our children.

In addition, Joan has been proactive in supporting individuals in our community, quietly and effectively, to connect with resources, or even to provide a helping hand herself in true “Maine-er” style. Joan has had high level positions of employment, and responsibility, but continues to be a sincere and responsive listener who advocates on behalf of people who connect with her.

Joan is just the person we want representing our beautiful community; our schools, our environment, our jobs, and our residents, depend on her informed insight to move forward practices and policies that are in all of our best interest.

Chris and Michael Tofani


A great festival

Thanks to a great team effort, the Camden Windjammer Festival came to town during the recent Labor Day Weekend. It took many people and organizations to make the festival a reality.

Thanks first to the windjammer fleet, the day tour boats and many private vessels which make the festival the outstanding sight that it is. Captain Jim Sharp provided commentary on the boats as they arrived and filled everyone in on the history of the schooners in Camden. Wayfarer Marine provided the harbor support including an all comers boat parade to round out the festival on Sunday afternoon.

The Maritime Heritage Fair was the centerpiece of the land based events showcasing a range of exhibitors demonstrating and explaining maritime skills and knowledge. Shed City loaned us a lovely shed as an information center and Lyman Technologies provided the solar generator that powered the exhibits and build-a-boat contest. Mark Sigenthaler organized and managed the build-a-boat, providing assistance to all participants. Our thanks to EBS for the building materials and Sika Corporation for the glue. Seth Silverton and Jessica Manbeck organized and ran the lobster crate race with the help of John Viehman, harbormaster Steve Pixley and his team and sponsorship and volunteer assistance from Camden National Bank.

Camden and West Bay Rotary clubs contributed a pancake breakfast and chowder challenge respectively. Ten local restaurants supported the Rotary and the festival by contributing wonderful chowder. Winners were Graffams, PenBay Regional Hospital Cafeteria and Cappy’s. Thanks to Pete Lammert of Thomaston for the loan of the event tent which came in handy for the breakfast and chowder. The P.A.W.S. staged a fun dog show and the Pirates of the Dark Rose entertained visitors including a dramatic arrival of the ship Must Roos.

The Town of Camden was a supportive partner. The Harbormaster’s office, the Fire Department, Parks and Rec Department, Public Works, Police Department, Pat Finnigan and the administrative staff all were major contributors to the success of the event. North East Mobile Health Services provided essential safety support.

Major sponsorship was provided by Camden National Bank, Point Lookout, Allen Insurance and Financial, The First, Lord Camden Inn and Country Inn. Media sponsors were Down East Magazine, Courier Publications and PenBay Pilot. Key contributors were Elm Street Marketing Essentials (rack cards) and Adventure Advertising (signs and crate logos. Terrific coverage of the whole festival was provided by PenBay Pilot and Courier Publications. A small but mighty team of volunteers helped to keep everything ticking along. The Camden Windjammer Festival is truly a community event that seeks to showcase the maritime heritage that made Camden what she is today.

The Camden Windjammer Festival Steering Committee

Emily Lusher, John Viehman, Meg Sharp, Dan Bookham, Seth Silverton and Jessica Manbeck with liaisons from the Windjammer Fleet, Town of Camden, PenBay Regional Chamber of Commerce, Camden and West Bay Rotaries.


Best banquet yet

The Camden High School Alumni Banquet was held on Aug. 8 at Point Lookout. With 219 alumni present, the CHS Board of Directors agreed this was the best one yet. People came from near and far to renew friendships and enjoy an evening of camaraderie and entertainment. The meal was delicious; the service was professional and Point Lookout was the ideal setting on a perfect summer's evening.

The Silent Auction was, once again, a great success. A big "thank you" to all the alumni and businesses who donated. Anyone wishing to donate something of value to the auction throughout the year mat do so by contacting David Ames at damesref@tidewater.net or calling him at 789-5118.

Two of last years' scholarship recipients, Emily Lopez and Cade Pattern, were our guests. They each gave a brief summary of their first-year college experience, which was very interesting.

All students at the CHRHS are encouraged to apply for a scholarship from the CHS Scholarship fund. The town you are from have no bearing on eligibility. All applications are reviewed and the requirements considered are: need, grades, extracurricular and essay.

Classes celebrating reunions this year were '44, '49.'54, '59 and '64. The reunion classes for 2015 will be '45, '50, '55, '60 and '65.

The highlight of the evening was the Special Recognition Awards. CHS alumni members Nelli Ames, Pat Ayers and Frank Morong were each presented with a plaque in recognition of their outstanding service to Camden and the surrounding communities over the years.

By unanimous decision, Point Lookout will again be the designated location for the 2015 Camden High School Alumni Banquet on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015.

A big thank you to everyone who attended the 2014 banquet, making it such a huge success. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.

CHS Alumni Board of Directors


Vote Fulford

Jonathan Fulford is a visible worker for our community, a doer and an investigator. At a presentation back in May for the Penobscot Bay Stewards, he spoke about the Come Boating organization's activities and contributions to the Penobscot Bay area citizens. These three personal characteristics became very evident as he spoke. Though his focus was on this coastal organization, located on Belfast's Harbor, it was abundantly clear that his concerns for and knowledge about Waldo County citizenry was easily equal to his familiarity with the health of the Bay and the recreational assets of Come Boating .

One might describe his entire perspective as 1.) encompassing, 2.) having vital connections and 3.) was environmentally sound.

Jonathan listened to us, and then responded both thoughtfully and knowledgeably. He, I believe, is a very keen ecologist. And, thus, he is so suitable to represent the unique and varied perspectives of the people in Waldo County, as a member of the Maine State Senate.

Beth C. Henderson